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Plage de la Palud, also known as La Palud Beach, is a picturesque beach located on the French Mediterranean coast.

Plage de la Palud is located in Port Cros National Park.  Having opened in 1963, this is the oldest National Marine Park in the Mediterranean.

It is one of the top snorkeling spots on the Mediterranean coast. Hundreds of relatively sociable fish, who have long been used to human presence, crisscross the calm, crystal-clear waters.

Visitors can also explore the diversity of the marine world thanks to the snorkel trail that has been laid down in the bay. It is one of the very rare spots in France where you can spot brown meagre and dusky grouper at snorkeling depth.

View over Plage de la Palud, Port Cros
View over Plage de la Palud and Rocher du Rascas.

How to go to the Plage de la Palud snorkeling spot

Visitors arrive in Port Cros mainly from Hyères. Between 5 to 15 trips, depending on the time of  year,  are run every day from the Port of Hyères/Port Saint-Pierre.

An adult round-trip ticket costs €29 per person. This is rougly the same amount in USD (2023). You can also get to Port Cros from Ile de Porquerolles or Le Lavandou.

The TLV-TVM company is in charge of the public transport towards the island (see here for details). When you arrive in Port Cros, you need to walk north for about 40 minutes to reach Plage de la Palud. The well-marked path is shaded but stony, so wear some good shoes.

Plage de la Palud snorkeling map, Port Cros National Park
Plage de la Palud snorkeling map, Port Cros National Park.

Water entrance for snorkeling Plage de la Palud

Once at the beach, you will have no trouble locating the snorkeling spot. It is marked out by two lines of buoys extending as far as the Rocher du Rascas (the small island you can see across from the beach). Get into the water wherever you wish inside the swimming area.

Plage de la Palud snorkeling tips and recommendations

The main snorkeling area is triangular in shape and covers the sea beds between the beach and the Rocher du Rascas (snorkeling area 1 on the map). You can explore a wider area, in particular the Southern part of the bay (snorkeling area 2 on the map) or the surroundings of the Rocher du Rascas. If you go to this area, be sure to take a dive flag.

Rocky seabed and posidonia at Plage de la Palud
The seabed at Plage de la Palud.

The easiest and most enjoyable way to explore the spot is to follow the underwater path that has been laid down in the bay.  It is designated by six yellow buoys.

Each buoy indicates a specific underwater environment. They include a sandy seabed, a Posidonia seagrass bed, a rocky rift, rocks beaten by the waves, etc. It also includes an information panel to be read underwater.

A sublet wrasse in Port Cros
The sublet wrasse is one of the many fish species that can be spotted at Plage de la Palud.

The most interesting environments are probably the Posidonia beds. Large shoals of salema porgy are found here, as well as gilt-head bream.  There are several species of seabream and East Atlantic peacock wrasse.

In the rocky areas it is easier to come across the highly colorful Mediterranean rainbow wrasse, the ornate wrasse, and the painted comber. Explore the small crevices to find red starfish, which are quite common at this spot.

A common octopus hiding in a Noble pen shell
A common octopus hiding in a Noble pen shell.

In the northwestern tip of the swimming area marked with buoys (close to Rocher du Rascas), you may also spot dusky groupers and brown meagre. These two iconic Mediterranean species rarely seen elsewhere in mainland France.

You’ll mostly find these two fantastic fish in the vicinity of caves or large crevices where they can shelter. Have a look under the rocks, 2 to 4 yards deep. In the same area, huge common dentex and schools of greater amberjack are occasionally reported.

A dusky grouper in Port Cros
Have a look in the crevices or under the rocky outcrops: you may spot a dusky grouper, pretty common in La Palud. An exceptional opportunity to spot this mythic fish in the Mediterranean.

It is easy to observe and get close to the fish. Since you will probably spend more time in the water than scheduled, don’t forget your rash guard to keep out the cold in the cooler months. Lastly, this spot is very popular, so be aware of other visitors, particularly  school groups.

Restaurants & accommodation nearby

There are no restaurants or accommodations on site. In the village, a 40-minute walk away by the shortest path, you will find several restaurants.

Check this video 👇👇👇 and discover Plage de la Palud underwater world with us! Huge gilt-head bream, greater amberjack, dusky grouper, brown meagre… you never know what shows up! More than 15 marine species can be seen in this short video.



  • Level required Beginner
  • Protected areaParc National de Port Cros
  • Maximum depth25ft/8m
  • Water entranceEasy, from a sandy beach
  • Potential DangersUsual precautions
  • LifeguardNo
  • Visitor numbersMedium
  • Access costsFree
  • Restaurants nearbyNo
  • Public toilets & showersNo

MAP Spot

This invaluable reference identification guide includes all the 860 marine fish species that may be encountered while snorkeling in coastal Western Europe and the Mediterranean.

These snorkeling spots are accessible to beginners and kids. You will enter the water gradually from a beach, or in a less than 3ft. deep area. The sea is generally calm, shallow, with almost no waves or currents. These spots are usually located in marked and/or monitored swimming areas. It is not necessary to swim long distances to discover the sea life.

This level only apply when the spot experiences optimal sea and/or weather conditions. It is not applicable if the sea and/or weather conditions deteriorate, in particular in the presence of rough sea, rain, strong wind, unusual current, large tides, waves and/or swell. You can find more details about the definition of our snorkeling levels on our snorkeling safety page.